RAF Marham in the UK is set to become the first British military base to run nearly entirely on green energy. Over 95 percent of its electricity is now to be fuelled by the anaerobic digestion of locally-grown crops in a nearby Norfolk plant.
RAF Marham in Norfolk is set to become the first British military base to run almost entirely on green electricity after finalizing a new “landmark” power purchase deal with nearby anaerobic digestion (AD) plant.
Due to be officially launched today, the partnership with Future Biogas will see the base – home to the frontline squadrons of RAF’s Tornado Force – source over 95 percent of its electricity from the Redstow Renewables AD facility in Swaffham.
It is estimated the deal will help cut the Ministry of Defence’s emissions by 14,000 tonnes per year, save around £300,000 ($ 394,000) in electricity bills every year and help boost power resilience at the base by providing “multiple pathways to electricity”.
The deal marks a first for the British military, along with MoD Lyneham in Wiltshire currently the only other UK base utilizing renewable electricity sources, having installed solar panels which supply around 20 percent of its power.
Minister for Defence People & Veterans, Tobias Ellwood MP, said he hoped RAF Marham would be the first of many UK military bases to take advantage of renewables.
“RAF Marham is leading the way as Britain’s first green military airbase,” he said. “The biogas fuel is a truly green and sustainable solution, helping us tackle climate change, support the local economy and save taxpayer money. I hope that this plant can act as a model and we can see more sustainable energy schemes rolled out across other military bases.”
The PPA venture between RAF Marham and Future Biogas has been in development since 2015. First opened in 2013, the Redstow Renewables AD plant produces green gas from locally-harvested crops such as maize, sugar beet, rye, and potatoes.
The gas is siphoned off and burned to produce up to 4.5MW of electricity every hour – enough to power 350,000 light bulbs, according to Future Biogas. Leftover organic waste from the process is then dried, separated and used as a natural fertilizer to help grow more crops.
Philipp Lukas, founder and managing director of Future Biogas, said it was “fantastic to see the UK military join the green revolution”.
“If we are to combat the imminent global threat of climate change, everyone, from all walks of life, needs to transition to renewable, sustainable energy as quickly as possible,” he said. “The huge success of this project leads us to hope the door will now open to more of a similar nature. Renewable energy projects that support the local circular economy have to become commonplace if we are to continue to see clean growth in the UK.”
In September 2018, US Cape Cod Military Base went 100% renewable after it was integrated with Otis Microgrid project based on renewable energy. Experts believe that if the US military bases were allowed to develop their full potential to produce green energy, they would be significantly more secure. US armed forces, unlike US administration, has nearly doubles their Renewable Power generation between 2011-2016, as according to them they understand that national security and energy security are entwined.